how to grow Alchemilla mollis Lady's mantle


Alchemilla mollis leaves with water Bright green foliage of Alchemillia Mollis Alchemilla flowers turn golden later in the summer


Growing Alchemilla mollis common name Lady's mantle

green-wheelbarrow-on-background-colour-30-x-30Alchemilla mollis, common name Lady's mantle, is an easy to grow herbaceous perennial, fully hardy which will grow successfully in many different conditions. Alchemilla prefers damp soil with some sun, but it is vigorous plant which will survive most conditions.  This means it will tolerate semi shade, any aspect, exposed and sheltered spots which makes it a useful plant for awkward areas.  It will also grow in damp areas as long as they are not boggy. The most common variety on sale is  A.mollis, a good variety with the RHS award of garden merit so always a safe bet when choosing a plant. It makes a mound of green foliage which looks lovely with raindrops on it as seen in the left image;  the leaves are soft almost downy in appearance and hold the water well.  Alchemilla mollis is one of those plants which does look good in the rain in common with Hosta The flowers are formed on sprays, with multiple flower heads, and they start off when first emerging a strong lime green colour(image centre) which become a mass of tiny yellow flowers from early summer onwards. This variety grows to around 60cmc and makes good front cover in borders. 

Alchemilla mollis with Allium 310Alchemilla mollis looks good with many plants, image on the above left is with Allium cristophii and the  lime green foliage looks good with purples and blues. One advantage of growing Alchemilla with Alliums, and why it's such a good companion plant for Alliums, is that often the leaves around the base of Allium look tatty even before the plant has flowered, it's one of it's shortcomings. Plant Alchemilla around the Alliums and it will cover the base leaves of the Allium.

Alchemilla also looks good as a contrast growing around the base of a Cotinus "Royal Purple", the strong lime green contrasts with the purple. The contrast is good but be aware a Cotinus is potentially a large shrub, 3 meters plus, although it can be kept in check by pruning.   Alchemilla also look good combined with the soft blue of  Nepeta (Cat Mint) a nice mix of blues with lime green/yellow and both flowering in June.

A down side of growing Alchemilla is that it is a big self seeder which some gardeners may find a problem, and it can be a chore to weed out where you don't want it. I have seen Alchemilla planted to good effect growing at the base of a copper beech hedge and Alchemilla looks good along a path. Alchemilla comes into leaf early in the year and so can look tired by July, with brown spots and fawn areas marring the foliage, as in the image below left. An easy solution is to take the shears to it; either a complete haircut, cut it partially in stages and new clean foliage will be up and sprouting within a couple of weeks maximum and look good for the rest of the growing season.  It will not flower again but it will produce fresh looking foliage. 

This is illustrated in the images below, the first shows the Alchemilla looking sad, bit tired and brown I cut it back and within a short period of time it had re grown some new foliage. 

Alchemilla mollis is a simple plant, which is why there is not much to say about it. It is easy to grow, unfussy about it's conditions and although a number are listed in the RHS encyclopedia of plants you really only see A. mollis for sale.


Alchemilla mollis looking brown and tatty Alchemilla mollis with re growth